INSPIRATION :: How Holly Becker’s Post “Trends + Exclusive Content” is Changing the Way I Blog

How Holly Becker's Post on Trends + Exclusive Content is Changing the Way I Blog

This post by Holly Becker of decor8 has absolutely re-energized the way I look at blogging.

Too often lately, I’ve had a misplaced sense of pressure to produce 100% original content for this space. I’ve pulled back from sharing the incredible creativity of others, because of the incorrect notion that I’d be perceived as a copycat for showing you something amazing someone else has already made (despite the fact it would be attributed to the original source, credited, and linked).

Holly writes, “Some blogs only accept exclusive content. Other blogs won’t share what another blogger posted no matter how much they loved it because they are scared to upset someone or appear like a copycat. I’ve been teaching blogging classes online and workshops for over 4 years and most of my students are terrified to blog about something if another blogger already covered it. This can ultimately lead to the death of blogs as influencers and early adopters. Really gang. While I’m all for columns, exclusive stuff, taking your own photos, etc. I think balance and caution is needed.

How can we influence something or adopt it if we fear writing about it because another blogger already covered it?  How can we discuss trends if no one has images to share supporting those discussions unless they take these images themselves – and because they don’t have the images they clam up?…If we all become fearful or run our blogs like they are magazines where only exclusive content is featured and we refuse to share something another blogger covered, what will that mean for blogging?”

To me, what Holly says is even more impactful and powerful because she’s an incredibly creative individual who has loads of original content to her name. I mean, she’s the author of two books (both of which are in my living room at this very moment) and has a terrific blog with an active and engaged community of readers.

If you blog, or are any other sort of content creator, I highly urge you to read the entire article, as well as her responses in the comments section.  It will challenge you and free you, I think.

As for me, I’m done being scared to blog about a trend, a photograph, a brand, or another creative just because a big-name blogger has already pinned it to Pinterest. This space should be where I can share what I love, without fear.

I have a feeling you might be seeing a lot more of inspiration here in the coming weeks.

Poetry & Words

POETRY & WORDS :: On Creative Burnout, or, Sometimes, I miss life before the Internet

Silencio del Mar - Watercolor by Oaxacaborn
Sometimes, I miss life before the internet, when a girl could just get lost in an old National Geographic, without knowing it was trendy to like Reykjavik.

Or geometric shapes, or the colors coral and mint, or hand-drawn arrows, or chevrons.

A girl can get swallowed by this handmade world. There is talent and inspiration yes, but there is so much repetition so much repetition.

I want to get back to reading The Joy of Cooking, not the “OMG. Need recipe.” comments on pictures of a stranger’s lunch.

I need more actual fabric swatches, and fewer repins of photos of fabric swatches. I need fewer “One gazillion places to go in 2013” websites and more discovering the sidewalks around my own house.

I want to stitch together more projects for my daughter and our home, and not as many for listings on Etsy. I need more torn paper and splashes of watercolor, and fewer Pinterest boards. More dirt under my fingernails, more glue on the palms of my hands, more paint  on the table around the edges of the canvas, more spontaneous midnight cookie-baking.

I’m tired. And I don’t think I’m going to find my lost creativity if I just keep looking inside this screen.

Do any of you ever feel like this?

Conversations with Designers

DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT :: A Conversation with Minor Edition

If you’re a creative individual, there’s a temptation to imagine other creatives relaxing on Eames chairs in spacious studios  — while you work late into the night at your kitchen table.  Of course, this perception is far from reality. In this week’s installment of Conversations with Designers, Ipshita Chatterjee of Minor Edition keeps it real with talk of chaos, balance, and how she turns roadblocks into inspiration.

Sneak Peek of Minor Edition Spring 2013 - and Conversation with the Designer about the Creative ProcessImage Credit: Minor Edition SS12

Walk me through your creative process — I guess you could call this the “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” question. Do you have a finished product in mind from the start, and then execute a series of steps to achieve this? Or do the ideas evolve and take life as you go through the creative process?
The entire design process evolves very slowly. I have a sketchpad (and lots of papers everywhere) where I sketch designs, as and when I’m inspired. They are usually quite messy with a thousand tiny ideas scribbled alongside. When I sit down to actually create a collection, it starts with a theme. I re-visit those sketches with the eye of a critique, and source the fabric samples in various colours. I sew a dummy of the dresses and try them on my (now five year old) daughter. Her feedback is very important to me. The final designs come to life in due course.

At one time or another, all creatives experience that “hitting a brick wall” feeling, where the ideas just stop. How do you deal with creative slumps and roadblocks?
I love creative slumps and roadblocks as long as there is no next minute deadline. They are a very good opportunity to take a break, whether it is just a long walk or a day off, it allows me to think things over and return recharged. Last week, I spent one day crocheting a scarf, tidying up and meeting a friend for coffee. This cleared my head and helped me with a few decisions the next day.

Let’s talk trends. How do trends impact your design experience?
Trends did not impact much in the current collection. They were inspired from my own childhood and the dresses my mum made for me. Minor Edition was born out of the need to provide something unique and different in terms of colour and design.

Minor Edition’s headquarters are your kitchen table and your studio/your daughter’s playroom. How do you maintain a sense of balance?
Life is a bit chaotic and I wonder if there is a sense of balance. In theory I am very organised and compartmentalised. In reality, I am in one hand, answering the phone while shoving the toys in one corner with my other hand, completely for health and safety reasons. I do make sure that I clean the kitchen the night before and put away breakfast bowls before the school drop off. My studio doubles up as a playroom and it works quite well. Luckily, I have managed to convince my daughter not to touch them. She has her own little stash of pink and dotty fabrics to play with, if I work when she’s around. Working late at night is a regular thing for me. Glad I love what I do.

What does collaboration look like for Minor Edition? What path does the fabric take on its journey to become a finished garment, and how many people are involved?
Minor Edition collaborates with two other ladies who are based overseas. They are mums of little girls themselves and share my passion of pretty dresses for little girls. These two lovely ladies run their own companies employing a few people and in their own workshop. They are the people behind the scene who translate my design into pretty little dresses.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to fellow creatives?
Enjoy what you do and work really hard.

Minor Edition | on Twitter | on Facebook


Focus on the demographic? Or “…allow creative imagination its freedom…”?

I read the following in today’s Toast Travels newsletter. An excellent reminder to artists and entrepreneurs everywhere!

“On Radio 4’s Front Row earlier this week Andrew Stanton, the film-maker behind Toy Story, Finding Nemo and other such Pixar wonders, was asked by Mark Lawson whether the opening scene of WALL-E was too bleak and frightening for a film aimed at younger children. Lawson had barely finished his question before Stanton shot him down for making the ‘fundamentally wrong’ assumption that his films were made with any particular demographic group in mind. Why would that even be necessary? He continued ‘I never thought the Beatles were trying to guess my demographic, I never thought Picasso was trying to test who the audience might be?’ After several minutes in this vein, it was clear: Andrew Stanton’s only priority is to make films that he believes are good, regardless of what others might think. He has absolute faith that if they are good enough, the rest will follow.

This is refreshing. The world is all too full of research into “customer bases”, focus groups, talk of target demographics. So much better to allow the creative imagination its freedom, link that flight to a drive to produce something really good – and trust that quality will find its own constituency (or, if you must, market). In a world full of commercial pressure and seemingly set (and unimaginative) paths to success it’s so easy to deviate from such single-minded purpose. There’s a sort of gravity, as enterprises find success and expand, that pulls creativity towards mediocrity, risk towards security. This must be resisted!”